Lawrence S. Pertillar
Chased Impossible Dreams - Poem by Lawrence S. Pertillar
No one I then knew as a child growing up,
Did such without dysfunctions ignored.
Or normal parental guidance.
This was the 'hood'.
No one bragged about having nannies.
Or the boredom of going to private schools.
Or camping trips to Cape Cod.
This was not our living in Connecticut reality.
We lived in a project.
Appropriately called Bellevue Square.
Where scattered brick buildings built,
To house black folks in tiny apartments.
Stacked not too high.
And nicely disguised by green grass,
With wooden park like benches...
For neighbors to gossip and socialize.
I remember it quite nice.
Even the rats and roaches were polite.
It just seemed so serene back in those days.
Few were heard to cuss or yelled to scream.
When blacks managed their disadvantagement.
No one I then knew,
Thought to hurt or bring harm to another.
Although chased impossible dreams,
Had not been taught to mean anything...
To the blacks who attended diverse,
And highly mixed schools.
The color of one's skin was more the issue.
To be reminded of it repeatedly.
In the presence of Italian, Chinese...
Russian, Hispanic and other observing kids.
We wore our blackness like a commodity.
'Niggers' we were called by teachers who were black.
As if to prepare us for the obvious.
Few that I then knew,
Back in those times.
Had grown up with minds,
To feel secure about themselves.
And did not accept a closed door meant,
Leaving it not to knock because to them...
It might be locked.
With a 'Do Not Disturb' sign,
Hanging from a knob.
Inferior was a word heard,
Few us accepted to believe.
No one that I now know,
To have achieved happiness and success.
Complains about their skin color.
Or heard continually to protest,
Being oppressed by it.
While sitting on their butts awaiting,
For welfare checks from the government.
None I knew were raised to stay that lazy.
But grew to define the difference between,
Devotion to ignorance.
And benefits of acquiring wisdom to find.
In their minds to use to not excuse.
With the chasing the impossible away.
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